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Question Time: Technology and the Brain

Socrates railed against the invention of the alphabet, worrying that the written word would erode human memory. Imagine how he would have felt about Google Maps and iPhone calendar alerts.

Technological revolutions have always spawned both opportunity and panic. Today, digital technology is evolving at an unprecedented rate, and research into its effects on the human brain is struggling to keep apace.

There’s strong evidence to suggest that digital technology really is altering human physiology, affecting our impulse control, attention span, sleeping patterns and, yes, our memory function. But it’s not all bad news, with some research suggesting a link between complex online activities (such as immersive games) and cognitive flexibility.

Host Madeleine Morris is joined by neuroscientist and psychologist Olivia Carter, and philosopher of science Michael Arnold – plus an audience full of questions – to talk brains, technology, policy and wellbeing.

Photo of host Madeleine Morris, with Michael Arnold and Olivia Carter

Left to right: Madeleine Morris, Michael Arnold and Olivia Carter

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